The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress rose from its meeting on Thursday with a mandate to work out a fresh proposal for the upward review of the current N18,000 national minimum wage for workers.
In its communiqué on Monday, the union’s leadership noted the average worker’s deteriorating purchasing power in the face of massive devaluation of the Naira, saying the review of the minimum wage was overdue, since the Minimum Wage Act of 2011 has exceeded its statutory five year review period.
“This proposal shall, upon completion, be tabled before the federal government, which shall empanel, as is the normal practice, a tripartite committee, comprising government, employers and organised labour to negotiate a new national minimum wage,” NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, said in the communique.
Hopeful that the negotiations would be completed in time for the new minimum wage to be reflected in the 2016 national and state budgets, the NEC said the purchasing power of the average Nigerian worker has been seriously undermined by uncontrollable inflation.
On corruption, the NLC said its leadership was also mandated to mobilise members towards a one-day National Day of Action against corruption and for good governance by organizing a protest march across the country against the recklessness of the political elite.
The national economy, the NLC said, has remained in a precarious condition as a result of the mismanagement and frittering away of trillions of Naira by those entrusted with its management, particularly in the last five or so years at all levels of governance.
The union said reports of theft of billions of dollars of national revenue since the change of government at the federal level showed that but for the huge theft and mismanagement over the years, the country would have been able to cope better with the negative impact of the fall in crude oil price at the international market.
Describing the power sector reform as a failure, the NLC said rather than improvement, the country has continued to witness darkness and increased shutting down of industries.
Manufacturers willing to stay afloat in business, the union said, have been forced to spend an estimated N300 billion annually on alternative power supply, the cost of which is often transferred to consumers, thus making the price of locally manufactured products less competitive with imported ones.
Alarmed at the escalating rate of unemployment in the country, the NLC described the development as a ticking time bomb requiring immediate attention of all tiers of government to redress.
It frowns at the “disingenuous approach of the National Bureau of Statistics and other agencies of government to manipulate unemployment figures”, saying the fraudulent approach was not helpful to the government, which requires accurate data for proper planning on ways to resolve the country’s alarming unemployment crisis.
While supporting government’s plan to conduct a comprehensive audit on how the country’s earnings were managed in the last five years, the NLC said it is also in support of the prompt prosecution of all those indicted in the massive looting of our national treasury, to serve as a lesson.
On the power sector, the NLC called for a comprehensive review of the privatization carried out recently in the sector, saying the focus of the reform in divesting government equity to the private sector was only a recipe for sustaining national darkness.
Source: Premium Times